Most of us have experienced what it is like to move from one residence to another. Moving is one of the most stressful periods of life because it involves taking all that you own and placing it in another residence. It is a time in which the normalcy as it relates to the routine of daily living is interrupted briefly. The purpose for such a move may be because of wanting a change in scenery, increasing space for the family, a job change, or one may be unable to afford their current living situation.
However, when you move from one residence to another, your old address is no longer relevant to your life and where you will be living. In most cases, once you have moved from one address to another, the old residence will at some point be occupied by someone else. If that occurs, then you will be unable to live in the property that you moved from because someone else either owns it or it is being rented. Your next residence is what will offer a new way of living, a new beginning, and a fresh start in life. Attempting to go back to what you left behind would defeat the purpose of starting over and gaining a new residence for you and or your family.
The same concept can be applied spiritually to each of our lives. In an earlier blog post, the principle of being awakened and alive in Jesus Christ was explained by using the scripture from Ephesians 2:1-6. The point of that post was to examine what being dead in our sin means but also knowing what it means to be alive or awakened because of Jesus Christ. In Romans chapter 6, the Apostle Paul brings up a similar principle but instead, he uses the principle of being ‘dead to sin’ and being ‘alive in Christ.’
There is a fundamental difference between being ‘dead in your sin’ and being ‘dead to your sin.’ To be dead in your sin is living in death or a constant state of decay. Being dead to your sin means that you are no longer bound to the power that sin has over you. In Romans chapter 6 the Apostle Paul explains it this way:
(NLT) “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?”
First it is important to focus on verse 1 in which Paul is challenging the notion that one can continue sinning and taking advantage of God’s grace. There are many who have and continue to believe satan’s lie which is that you can continuously sin and expect God’s grace to cover your sin. It is true that God will forgive us when we sin, however, the expectation that God has of every Christian is to live in holiness and obedience. This means not willfully sinning and expecting to be in the right position with God.
Of course, you and I are in our human state which means that we will all sin at some point because we are imperfect. However, many have used that reality as an excuse to continue in sin. Paul answers the question emphatically regarding sinfulness in verse 2 when he says that we should not continue living in sin. However, notice what he says in this verse:
“Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?”
Paul says that we have ‘died’ to sin which means when we have received Christ in our hearts, we are no longer living in sin or alive to our sin. We have ‘died’ to our sin which means it no longer has power over us. Just like the analogy of living in a new residence and attempting to go back to your old one, that is how God sees us when we accept Christ. It becomes fruitless and it is not practical to live in an old residence when you have a new residence to live in.
Paul continues in verses 3-4:
(NLT) “Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.”
The interesting part of these two verses is that the Apostle Paul uses the term, ‘baptism.’ Why does he use this term and why is it relevant to our relationship with Christ? First you must understand the meaning of the word ‘baptize.’ The word ‘baptize’ is actually derived from the Greek word ‘baptizo’ which then comes from the root word ‘bapto.’ This was a term that was used in the first century as it related to immersing a cloth or garment into water with bleach and then with dye in order to change the color of the cloth or garment.
In the historical sense, baptism meant to immerse with the intent of seeing a changed product as the end result. As it relates to Jesus Christ, the term ‘baptism’ is used in the symbolic sense concerning Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Paul says that we were “buried with Christ by baptism” which means that when Christ died on the cross, it was the act of His death that started the process of breaking the power of sin. Jesus was and is our atoning sacrifice for the debt of sin that we could not pay. The burial of Christ is also symbolic as it relates to baptism by water. When someone is baptized they are taken down into the water to symbolize that there is a death and a burial to their sinful nature.
What all of this means is, when we are baptized with Christ, we are essentially dying to our sin which means we can no longer live in it as we did before. Secondly, Paul says in the latter part of verse 4, “And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” So, the last part of the process is that there is a resurrection. Jesus Christ did not simply die only to remain dead. However, Jesus died and rose again 3 days later.
Christ’s rising again from death completed the process of providing new life to us and breaking the power of sin. Even with water baptism the act of getting out of the water symbolizes a resurrection and a newness of life. Regarding water baptism, it should be noted that every Christian should at some point receive the baptism by water. Water baptism is a public declaration of one’s confession that Jesus is Lord in their life. It is also symbolic of a person’s new life in Christ which means to signify to the world that there has been a shedding of sin or the old nature.
Verses 5-7 in this passage sum up the point that Paul makes to us:
(NLT) “Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.”
So, the overall point is that when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior, our lives change. If we have died to our sin, and we are buried and have been resurrected as Christ was, then our lives are made new. The reason why there are many who can continue in their sin (both those who are not in Christ and those who claim Christianity) is because they have not been truly made new and whole. That isn’t to say that you and I will never sin again. However, if our lives resemble exactly what those who are of this world do daily, then we have not allowed Christ to transform us.
If you don’t know Jesus in the remission of your sins, you are living in death. However, if you want to be dead to your sin and experience life in abundance, then you have an opportunity to accept this gift of life. Being dead to your sin is to be alive in Jesus Christ. It is only Christ who can change your life and make it brand new.